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Germany

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Expert tip

Booking your train journey tickets in advance and keeping an eye on Deutsche Bahn’s ‘Sparpreis’ saver fares will help you get where you need to go and save some of your hard-earned travel money at the same time!

ATM access

5/5 stars – there are ATMs everywhere.

Tipping

It is common to tip in restaurants and bars in Germany.

“Rounding up” the amount of your bill or giving a tip of 5-10% of the total of your bill at minimum is customary.

Tipping is also expected in hotels, so if you receive good service you should give your porter between €1 and €3 per bag, while your housekeeper should receive €3 - 5 per night.  It is not necessary to tip your taxi driver, but most people will round their fare up to the nearest euro anyway.

Bargaining scale

1/5 stars – bargaining is impolite.

Bargaining and haggling are not customary in Germany. Generally, everything has a fixed price, and it is considered unusual to attempt to negotiate this price, although, negotiating prices on big ticket items such are cars and houses is sometimes acceptable.

Card access

Debit and credit cards are generally widely accepted, although some establishments may not accept credit cards. Look for a sticker on a shop’s door to advise which cards are accepted, or simply ask.

Pay in local currency as often as possible. This will prevent currency conversion fees eating into your travel money. Consider using a prepaid currency card to ensure you aren’t wasting your money on hidden fees.

Always remember to advise your bank of your travel plans before you leave. This will avoid them flagging your international transactions as fraudulent and freezing your accounts.

Cost of a coffee

In Germany, a regular cappuccino will cost you €2.55.

Transport

Germany has an efficient public transport system. Bigger cities provide buses, trams, underground subways and suburban trains.

Fares differ depending on where you are travelling and the time of your travel. A multi-ticket strip or day pass usually offers better value than a single-ride ticket.

Pickpocket security rating

3/5 stars – theft is possible.

Although pickpockets and theft aren’t a common problem in Germany, it is still advised to exercise caution, especially when using public transport or in crowded areas. Always keep your valuables close to your body and never leave bags unattended.

Scammers and ripoffs

Opportunistic beggars in Germany are the most common scam for tourists. This can be quite an organised system, and the people involved may not be genuinely in need. They will often tell tales of personal hardship and ask for money. Sometimes, even if you give them money, they will demand more to distract you while you are pickpocketed. The safest bet is to just ignore them and keep on walking with your bag close to your body.

Another scam to keep an eye out for is fake ticket inspectors, who demand that fines be paid on the spot. Real ticket inspectors will give you the option of being issued with a penalty notice and paying at a later time.

Departure tax

Any airport or departure taxes are included in the price of your air ticket.

Visa costs

As Germany is party to the Schengen Convention, Australians and New Zealanders do not require a visa to enter Germany for visits of up to 90 days.

However, they do require a passport that has at least six months' validity from their planned date of return to Australia.

Travellers should carry their passport with them when entering or leaving Germany, even if travelling to another Schengen country.

If you need more information regarding visas and other travel document requirements for your trip to Germany, please ask your travel consultant or contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Germany.

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